Authorities say a misunderstanding provoked Trevor Marshall to hunt down Elekist Wheeler and fire several shots at him in mid-afternoon at a busy apartment complex crowded with bystanders.
That Friday in 2013, police said it was fortunate Marshall hit only Wheeler with so many other people around. Unfortunately for Wheeler, the single gunshot wound was severe, penetrating his torso near his right lung and exiting his back.
All Wheeler was doing at the time was drinking a beer, waiting on his girlfriend to come pick him up at the 770 Terminal Court apartments in Columbus.
But Marshall was convinced Wheeler had been involved in an earlier dispute between Marshall and some other men that March 1, authorities said. That’s what prompted Marshall to get a handgun and come looking for him.
Police believe Marshall fired at least three times, though witnesses reported hearing more gunshots before Wheeler stumbled bleeding to an apartment stoop and collapsed. They called an ambulance that rushed him to the hospital, the quick response likely saving his life.
Marshall ran away, but he was known to neighborhood residents and soon arrested.
He was charged with aggravated assault, using a gun to commit a felony and reckless conduct for firing it in what a police warrant described as an area “congested with pedestrian traffic along with multiple small children.”
Marshall was about to go to trial this week when instead he decided to plead guilty to the assault and weapons charges. The reckless conduct charge was dropped.
Superior Court Judge Bobby Peters sentenced Marshall, 24, to 15 years in prison with eight to serve and the rest on probation.